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2023 Business Meal Expenses


In 2023, specific meal expenses remain deductible for businesses, under certain conditions. These expenses, referred to variously as meals deduction, business meals tax deduction, and meals and entertainment deduction, are contingent on their connection to the active conduct of a trade or business.

Qualification Criteria

Meal expenses qualify for tax deductions when:

  • Connected with active business conduct.

  • The meal isn’t lavish under the circumstances.

  • The taxpayer or an employee is present during the meal.

Deduction Categories

  1. 50% Deduction: This includes meals with customers, clients, or employees linked to business discussions; meals provided for business meetings; room rental for business gatherings; and meals provided on the employer’s premises.

  2. 100% Deduction: Includes employer-provided social or recreational meals for employees (like summer picnics or holiday parties), meal expenses treated as compensation, and food or beverages offered to the general public during promotional events.

Non-Deductible Expenses

Certain meals and entertainment costs, such as those without business discussions, entertainment costs not directly linked to meals, and club dues, remain non-deductible.

2021 and 2022 Exceptions

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, provided a temporary 100% deduction for meals provided by restaurants for 2021 and 2022. This includes takeout and delivery, subject to standard requirements.

Benefits for 2023

  • Reduced taxable income.

  • Lower self-employment tax.

Considerations and Requirements

  • Detailed recordkeeping is necessary, including documentation of attendees and business discussions.

  • Expenses should not be lavish or unreasonable.

  • The business meal deduction excludes purely entertainment expenses.

Entities Eligible for Deductions

Entities like Schedule C, E, F, Farm Rental, S Corporations, C Corporations, and Partnerships can claim these deductions.

Conclusion for 2023

The business meal expenses deduction in 2023 continues to offer significant tax benefits for eligible businesses. While the specific conditions and documentation requirements remain stringent, the benefits of reduced taxable income and self-employment tax can be substantial. Businesses should carefully document their meal expenses to ensure compliance and maximize their tax advantages. The continuation of digital tools and apps simplifies recordkeeping, aiding businesses in efficiently managing these deductions.

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